Energy Savers Booklet


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Energy Savers Booklet

  1. 1. ENERGY SAVERS BOOKLET Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home
  2. 2. R ight in your own home, you have the power to reduce energy demand, and when you reduce demand, you cut the amount of resources, like coal and gas, needed to make energy—that means you create less greenhouse gas emissions, which keeps air cleaner for all of us… and saves on your utility bills! Plus, reducing energy use increases our energy security. Contents 1 Save Energy and Money Today 2 Your Home’s Energy Use 4 Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks 10 Heating and Cooling 16 Water Heating 18 Windows 20 Lighting 22 Appliances 29 Home Office and Home Electronics 31 Driving and Car Maintenance 32 Renewable Energy 33 References This booklet shows you how easy it is to reduce your energy use at home and on the road. The easy, practical solutions for saving energy include tips you can use today, throughout your home—from the roof, walls, and insulation that enclose it to the appliances and lights inside. Please take a few moments to read the valuable tips in this booklet to start saving energy and money today. To learn more about U.S. Department of Energy programs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s web site at
  3. 3. Save Energy and Money Today D id you know that the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills? Unfortunately, a Tips to Save Energy Today Easy low-cost and no-cost large portion of that energy is wasted. ways to save energy. And each year, electricity generated • Install a programmable thermostat by fossil fuels for a single home puts to keep your house comfortably more carbon dioxide into the air than warm in the winter and comfortably two average cars. And as for the road, cool in the summer. transportation accounts for 67% of all U.S. oil consumption. The good news • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs is that there is a lot you can do to save with the ENERGY STAR® label. energy and money at home and in your • Air dry dishes instead of using your car. Start making small changes today dishwasher’s drying cycle. (see sidebar). To cut your energy use up • Turn off your computer and monitor to 25%, see the Long-Term Savings Tips when not in use. throughout this booklet. • Plug home electronics, such as TVs The key to achieving these savings in and DVD players, into power strips; your home is a whole-house energy turn the power strips off when the efficiency plan. To take a whole-house equipment is not in use (TVs and approach, view your home as an energy DVDs in standby mode still use system with interdependent parts. For several watts of power). example, your heating system is not just • Lower the thermostat on your a furnace—it’s a heat-delivery system hot water heater to 120°F. that starts at the furnace and delivers heat throughout your home using a • Take short showers instead of network of ducts. Even a top-of-the- baths. line, energy-efficient furnace will waste • Wash only full loads of dishes and a lot of fuel if the ducts, walls, attic, clothes. windows, and doors are not properly • Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving sealed and insulated. Taking a whole- (speeding, rapid acceleration and house approach to saving energy ensures braking) wastes gasoline. that dollars you invest to save energy are spent wisely. • Look for the ENERGY STAR label Save Energy and Money Today on home appliances and products. Energy-efficient improvements not only ENERGY STAR products meet strict make your home more comfortable, they efficiency guidelines set by the can yield long-term financial rewards. U.S. Department of Energy and the Reduced utility bills more than make up Environmental Protection Agency. for the higher price of energy-efficient • Visit for appliances and improvements over their more energy-saving ideas. lifetimes. In addition, your home could bring in a higher price when you sell. 1
  4. 4. Your Home’s Energy Use T he first step to taking a whole- house energy efficiency approach is to find out which parts • Check for open fireplace dampers. • Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly of your house use the most energy. maintained. Check your owner’s A home energy audit will pinpoint manuals for the recommended those areas and suggest the most maintenance. effective measures for cutting your • Study your family’s lighting needs energy costs. You can conduct a and use patterns, paying special simple home energy audit yourself, attention to high-use areas such as contact your local utility, or call an the living room, kitchen, and outside independent energy auditor for a lighting. Look for ways to use lighting more comprehensive examination. controls—like occupancy sensors, For more information about home dimmers, or timers—to reduce lighting energy audits, including free tools and energy use, and replace standard calculators, visit www.energysavers. (incandescent) light bulbs and fixtures gov or with compact or standard fluorescent lamps. Other Formulating Your Plan Refrigeration 8% After you have identified where your Space 8% Appliances Heating home is losing energy, assign priorities 31% 9% by asking yourself a few important Computers & Electronics Space questions: 9% Cooling • How much money do you spend on Lighting Water 11% Heating 12% energy? 12% • Where are your greatest energy losses? How We Use Energy in Our Homes • How long will it take for an Heating accounts for the biggest chunk of investment in energy efficiency to pay a typical utility bill. for itself in energy cost savings? Source: 2007 Buildings Energy Data Book, Table 4.2.1., 2005 energy cost data. • Do the energy-saving measures provide additional benefits that Energy Auditing Tips are important to you (for example, • Check the insulation levels in your increased comfort from installing attic, exterior and basement walls, double-paned, efficient windows)? ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces. • How long do you plan to own your Your Home’s Energy Use Visit for current home? instructions on checking your insulation levels. • Can you do the job yourself or will you need to hire a contractor? • Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, • What is your budget and how doors, light and plumbing fixtures, much time do you have to spend on switches, and electrical outlets maintenance and repair? that can leak air into or out of your home. 2
  5. 5. Once you assign priorities to your energy Tips for Finding a Contractor needs, you can form a whole house efficiency plan. Your plan will provide • Ask neighbors and friends for you with a strategy for making smart recommendations purchases and home improvements that • Look in the Yellow Pages maximize energy efficiency and save the • Focus on local companies most money. • Look for licensed, insured contractors Another option is to get the advice of a professional. Many utilities conduct • Get three bids with details in writing energy audits for free or for a small • Ask about previous experience charge. For a fee, a professional • Check references contractor will analyze how well • Check with the Better Business Bureau your home’s energy systems work together and compare the analysis to your utility bills. He or she will use a variety of equipment such as blower effective energy improvements doors, infrared cameras, and surface and enhanced comfort and safety. thermometers to find leaks and drafts. A reputable contractor can also After gathering information about your calculate the return on your investment home, the contractor or auditor will give in high-efficiency equipment you a list of recommendations for cost- compared with standard equipment. Thermogram/photograph copyright 1997, Infraspection Institute, Inc., Shelburne, VT Your Home’s Energy Use Cool Hot Heat Loss from a House A picture is this case, lost heating dollars. This thermal photograph shows heat leaking from a house during those expensive winter heating months. The white, yellow, and red colors show heat escaping. The red represents the area of the greatest heat loss. 3
  6. 6. Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks C hecking your home’s insulation is one of the fastest and most cost- effective ways to use a whole-house Insulation First, check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, exterior and basement walls, approach to reduce energy waste and floors, and crawl spaces to see if it meets make the most of your energy dollars. the levels recommended for your area. A good insulating system includes Insulation is measured in R-values—the a combination of products and higher the R-value, the better your construction techniques that protect walls and roof will resist the transfer a home from outside hot or cold of heat. DOE recommends ranges of temperatures, protect it against air R-values based on local heating and leaks, and control moisture. You can cooling costs and climate conditions in increase the comfort of your home different areas of the nation. The map while reducing your heating and and chart on pages 6 and 7 show the cooling needs by investing in proper DOE recommendations for your area. insulation and sealing air leaks. State and local code minimum insulation requirements may be less than the DOE recommendations, which are based on Attic Walls Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks Floors Crawl space Basement Where to Insulate Adding insulation in the areas shown above may be the best way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Insulate either the attic floor or under the roof. Check with a contractor about crawl space or basement insulation. 4
  7. 7. cost effectiveness. For more customized Should I Insulate My Home? insulation recommendations, visit our site,, look for Insulate your home when: Insulation and check out the Zip Code • You have an older home and Insulation Calculator. This tool provides haven’t added insulation. Only 20% insulation levels for your new or existing of homes built before 1980 are home based on your zip code and other well insulated. basic information about your home. • You are uncomfortably cold in the Although insulation can be made from winter or hot in the summer— a variety of materials, it usually comes adding insulation creates a more in four types; each type has different uniform temperature and increases characteristics. comfort. • You build a new home, addition, or Rolls and batts—or blankets—are install new siding or roofing. flexible products made from mineral • You pay high energy bills. fibers, such as fiberglass and rock wool. • You are bothered by noise from They are available in widths suited to outside—insulation muffles sound. standard spacings of wall studs and attic or floor joists: 2x4 walls can hold R-13 Insulation Tips or R-15 batts; 2x6 walls can have R-19 • Consider factors such as your or R-21 products. climate, building design, and budget Loose-fill insulation—usually made when selecting insulation R-values of fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose in for your home. the form of loose fibers or fiber pellets, • Use higher density insulation on it should be blown into spaces using exterior walls, such as rigid foam special pneumatic equipment. The boards, in cathedral ceilings and on blown-in material conforms readily to exterior walls. building cavities and attics. Therefore, • Ventilation helps with moisture loose-fill insulation is well suited for control and reducing summer places where it is difficult to install other cooling bills. Attic vents can be types of insulation. installed along the entire ceiling Rigid foam insulation—foam insulation cavity to help ensure proper airflow typically is more expensive than fiber from the soffit to the attic to make a insulation. But it’s very effective in home more comfortable and energy Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks buildings with space limitations and efficient. Do not ventilate your where higher R-values are needed. Foam attic if you have insulation on the insulation R-values range from R-4 to underside of the roof. Check with a R-6.5 per inch of thickness, which is up to qualified contractor. 2 times greater than most other insulating • Recessed light fixtures can be a materials of the same thickness. major source of heat loss, but you need to be careful how close you Foam-in-place insulation—this type place insulation next to a fixture can be blown into walls and reduces air unless it is marked IC—designed leakage, if blown into cracks, such as for direct insulation contact. Check around window and door frames. your local building codes for recommendations. See Lighting for more about recessed cans. 5
  8. 8. • As specified on the product probably benefit by adding more. Most packaging, follow the product U.S. homes should have between R-30 instructions on installation and wear and R-60 insulation in the attic. Don’t the proper protective gear when forget the attic trap or access door. installing insulation. If your attic has enough insulation and your home still feels drafty and cold in $ Long-Term Savings Tip the winter or too warm in the summer, • One of the most cost-effective chances are you need to add insulation to ways to make your home more the exterior walls as well. This is a more comfortable year-round is to add expensive measure that usually requires insulation to your attic. a contractor, but it may be worth the cost Adding insulation to the attic is if you live in a very hot or cold climate. relatively easy and very cost effective. If you replace the exterior siding on To find out if you have enough attic your home, you should consider adding insulation, measure the thickness of insulation at the same time. the insulation. If it is less than R-30 You may also need to add insulation (11 inches of fiber glass or rock wool to your crawl space or basement. Check or 8 inches of cellulose), you could with a professional contractor. U.S. Department of Energy Recommended* Total R-Values for New Wood-Framed Houses 7 6 4 6 5 5 4 3 2 3 2 Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks 2 1 All of Alaska in Zone 7 except for the Zone 1 includes Hawaii, following boroughs in Zone 8: Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands How Much Insulation Bethel Northwest Arctic Dellingham Southeast Fairbanks Does My Home Need? Fairbanks N. Star Wade Hampton For insulation recommendations Nome Yukon-Koyukuk tailored to your home, visit the DOE Zip North Slope Code Insulation Calculator at www.ornl. gov/~roofs/zip/ziphome.html. * These recommendations are cost-effective levels of insulation based on the best available information on local fuel and materials costs and weather conditions. Consequently, the levels may differ from current local building codes. 6
  9. 9. New Construction Today, new products are on the For new homes in most climates, you market that provide both insulation will save money and energy if you and structural support and should be install a combination of cavity insulation considered for new home construction and insulative sheathing. Cavity or additions. Structural insulated panels, insulation can be installed at levels known as SIPs, and masonry products up to R-15 in a 2 in. x 4 in. wall and like insulating concrete forms are up to R-21 in a 2 in. x 6 in. wall. The among these. Some homebuilders are insulative sheathing, used in addition to even using an old technique borrowed this cavity insulation, helps to reduce from the pioneers: building walls using the energy that would otherwise be straw bales. Check online at www. lost through the wood frame. The for more information table below shows the recommended on structural insulation. combinations. For example, in Zone Radiant barriers (in hot climates), 5, you could use either a 2x4 wall with reflective insulation, and foundation R-13 or a 2x6 wall with R-21. For either insulation should all be considered for of those two walls, you should also use new home construction. Check with an inch of insulative sheathing that has your contractor for more information an R-value of R-5 or R-6. about these options. _____Wall_____ Cathedral Ceiling Electric Furnace Heat Pump Sheathing Insulation Fuel Oil Cavity Floor Zone Attic Gas 1     R30 to R49 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R13 2    R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R13 2  R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R19 - R25 3    R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R25 3  R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 R2.5 to R5 R25 4    R38 to R60 R30 to R38 R13 to R15 R2.5 to R6 R25 - R30 Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks 4  R38 to R60 R30 to R38 R13 to R15 R5 to R6 R25 - R30 5    R38 to R60 R30 to R38 R13 to R15 R2.5 to R6 R25 - R30 5  R38 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R30 6     R49 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R30 7     R49 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R30 8     R49 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R30 7
  10. 10. Sources of Air Leaks in Your Home Areas that leak air into and out of your home cost you lots of money. Check the areas listed below. 1 Dropped ceiling 5 Water and furnace flues 9 Window frames 2 Recessed light 6 All ducts 10 Electrical outlets and switches 3 Attic entrance 7 Door frames 11 Plumbing and utility access 4 Sill plates 8 Chimney flashing Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks Sealing Air Leaks Tips for Sealing Air Leaks Warm air leaking into your home • First, test your home for air tightness. during the summer and out of your On a windy day, carefully hold a lit home during the winter can waste a incense stick or a smoke pen next lot of your energy dollars. One of the to your windows, doors, electrical quickest dollar-saving tasks you can boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical do is caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, seams, cracks, and openings to the and other locations where there is a outside. You can save on your heating possible air path to the outside. If the and cooling bill by reducing the air smoke stream travels horizontally, you leaks in your home. have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping. 8
  11. 11. • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and Fans and Vents Electric Outlets windows that leak air. 4% 2% • Caulk and seal air leaks where Windows plumbing, ducting, or electrical 10% Floors, Walls, Doors and Ceiling wiring penetrates through walls, 31% 11% floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. Plumbing Penetrations Ducts • Install foam gaskets behind outlet 13% Fireplace 15% and switch plates on walls. 14% • Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks into and out How Does the Air Escape? of your house. You can seal the holes Air infiltrates into and out of your home through with low-expansion spray foam made every hole and crack. About one-third of this for this purpose. air infiltrates through openings in your ceilings, walls, and floors. • Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate • Replacing existing door bottoms air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and thresholds with ones that have and wall/floor joists. These joints can pliable sealing gaskets is a great way be caulked. to eliminate conditioned air leaking • Install storm windows over single-pane out from underneath the doors. windows or replace them with more • Fireplace flues are made from metal, efficient windows, such as double- and over time repeated heating and pane. See Windows on page 18 for cooling can cause the metal to warp more information. or break, creating a channel for hot • When the fireplace is not in use, keep or cold air loss. Inflatable chimney the flue damper tightly closed. A balloons are designed to fit beneath chimney is designed specifically for your fireplace flue during periods smoke to escape, so until you close it, of non-use. They are made from warm air escapes—24 hours a day! several layers of durable plastic and • For new construction, reduce exterior can be removed easily and reused wall leaks by installing house wrap, hundreds of times. Should you taping the joints of exterior sheathing, forget to remove the balloon before and comprehensively caulking and making a fire, the balloon will Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks sealing the exterior walls. automatically deflate within seconds • Use foam sealant around larger gaps of coming into contact with heat. around windows, baseboards, and other places where warm air may be leaking out. • Kitchen exhaust fan covers can keep air from leaking in when the exhaust fan is not in use. The covers typically attach via magnets for ease of replacement. 9
  12. 12. Heating and Cooling H eating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional. • Place heat-resistant radiator system in your home. Typically, 46% reflectors between exterior walls of your utility bill goes for heating and the radiators. and cooling. What’s more, heating • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other and cooling systems in the United exhaust fans within 20 minutes after States together emit 150 million tons you are done cooking or bathing; of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when replacing exhaust fans, each year, adding to global climate consider installing high-efficiency, change. They also generate about low-noise models. 12% of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and 4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief • During the heating season, keep the ingredients in acid rain. draperies and shades on your south- facing windows open during the day No matter what kind of heating, to allow the sunlight to enter your ventilation, and air-conditioning home and closed at night to reduce system you have in your house, you the chill you may feel from cold can save money and increase your windows. comfort by properly maintaining • During the cooling season, keep the and upgrading your equipment. But window coverings closed during the remember, an energy-efficient furnace day to prevent solar gain. alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the $ Long-Term Savings Tips whole-house approach. By combining • Select energy-efficient products proper equipment maintenance and when you buy new heating and upgrades with appropriate insulation, cooling equipment. Your contractor air sealing, and thermostat settings, should be able to give you energy you can cut your energy use for fact sheets for different types, heating and cooling, and reduce models, and designs to help you environmental emissions, from 20% to 50%. No Heating System Heating and Cooling Tips 1% Fuel • Set your thermostat as low as is Other Oil 7% comfortable in the winter and 9% as high as is comfortable in the Natural Gas summer. 53% Electricity • Clean or replace filters on furnaces 30% Heating and Cooling once a month or as needed. • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes. Household Heating Systems Although several different types of fuels are • Bleed trapped air from hot-water available to heat our homes, more than half of us radiators once or twice a season; use natural gas. 10
  13. 13. compare energy usage. For furnaces, will have to work longer to keep your look for high Annual Fuel Utilization house comfortable. Either way, your Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The energy losses cost you money. national minimum is 78% AFUE, but Although minor duct repairs are there are ENERGY STAR models on easy to make, ducts in unconditioned the market that exceed 90% AFUE. spaces should be sealed and insulated • For air conditioners, look for a high by qualified professionals using Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio appropriate sealing materials. Here (SEER). The current minimum is 13 are a few simple tips to help with SEER for central air conditioners. minor duct repairs. ENERGY STAR models are 14 SEER or more. Duct Tips • Check your ducts for air leaks. Air Ducts First, look for sections that should One of the most important systems in be joined but have separated and your home, though it’s hidden beneath then look for obvious holes. your feet and over your head, may be • If you use tape to seal your ducts, wasting a lot of your energy dollars. avoid cloth-backed, rubber adhesive Your home’s duct system, a branching duct tape, which tends to fail network of tubes in the walls, floors, and quickly. Researchers recommend ceilings, carries the air from your home’s other products to seal ducts: mastic, furnace and central air conditioner to butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat- each room. Ducts are made of sheet approved tapes. Look for tape with metal, fiberglass, or other materials. the Underwriters Laboratories logo. Unfortunately, many duct systems • Remember that insulating ducts are poorly insulated or not insulated in the basement will make the properly. Ducts that leak heated air basement colder. If both the into unheated spaces can add hundreds ducts and the basement walls are of dollars a year to your heating and uninsulated, consider insulating cooling bills. Insulating ducts that are both. Water pipes and drains in in unconditioned spaces is usually very unconditioned spaces could freeze cost effective. If you are buying a new and burst in the space if the heat duct system, consider one that comes ducts are fully insulated, because with insulation already installed. there would be no heat source to Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is prevent the space from freezing in even more important if the ducts are cold weather. However, using an located in an unconditioned area such electric heating tape wrap on the as an attic or vented crawl space. If pipes can prevent this. Check with a the supply ducts are leaking, heated professional contractor. or cooled air can be forced out of Heating and Cooling unsealed joints and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints. In the summer, hot attic air can be drawn in, increasing the load on the air conditioner. In the winter, your furnace 11
  14. 14. Ducts—Out-of-Sight, Out-of-Mind The unsealed ducts in your attic and crawlspaces lose air, and uninsulated ducts lose heat, wasting energy and money. • If your basement has been converted and repairs to a duct system should to a living area, hire a professional always be performed by a qualified to install both supply and return professional. registers in the basement rooms. • Ducts that don’t work properly can • Be sure a well-sealed vapor create serious, life-threatening carbon barrier exists on the outside of monoxide (CO) problems in the the insulation on cooling ducts to home. Install a CO monitor to alert prevent moisture buildup. you to harmful CO levels if you have • When doing ductwork, be sure to a fuel-burning furnace, stove or other get professional help. Changes appliance, or an attached garage. $ Long-Term Savings Tip Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector • You can lose up to 60% of your heated Heating and Cooling Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are air before it reaches the register if highly recommended in homes with your ducts aren’t insulated and travel fuel-burning appliances, such as natural through unheated spaces such as the gas furnaces, stoves, ovens, and water attic or crawlspace. Get a qualified heaters, and fuel-burning space heaters. professional to help you insulate An alarm signals homeowners if CO and repair ducts. reaches potentially dangerous levels. 12
  15. 15. Heat Pumps the same house that does not include Heat pumps are the most efficient form passive solar design. of electric heating in moderate climates, Passive solar design can also help reduce providing three times more heating than your cooling costs. Passive solar cooling the equivalent amount of energy they techniques include carefully designed consume in electricity. There are three overhangs, windows with reflective types of heat pumps: air-to-air, water coatings, and reflective coatings on source, and ground source. They collect exterior walls and the roof. heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for A passive solar house requires careful use inside. Heat pumps do double duty design and site orientation, which as a central air conditioner. They can depend on the local climate. So, if you also cool your home by collecting the are considering passive solar design for heat inside your house and effectively new construction or a major remodeling, pumping it outside. A heat pump can you should consult an architect familiar trim the amount of electricity you use for with passive solar techniques. heating by as much as 30% to 40%. Solar Tips Heat Pump Tips • Keep all south-facing glass clean. • Do not set back the heat pump’s • Make sure that objects do not block thermostat manually if it causes the the sunlight shining on concrete slab electric resistance heating to come on. floors or heat-absorbing walls. This type of heating, which is often used as a backup to the heat pump, Natural Gas and Oil Heating is more expensive. If you plan to buy a new heating system, ask your local utility or state energy • Clean or change filters once a month office for information about the latest or as needed, and maintain the technologies available to consumers. system according to manufacturer’s They can advise you about more instructions. efficient systems on the market today. For example, many newer models $ Long-Term Savings Tip incorporate designs for burners and • If you use electricity to heat your heat exchangers that result in higher home and live in a moderate climate, efficiencies during operation and reduce consider installing an energy- efficient heat loss when the equipment is off. heat pump system. Consider a sealed combustion furnace; Solar Heating and Cooling they are both safer and more efficient. Using passive solar design techniques to Check the shopping guide in the back heat and cool your home can be of this booklet for additional information both environmentally friendly and on how to understand heating system cost effective. Passive solar heating ratings. Heating and Cooling techniques include placing larger, $ Long-Term Savings Tip insulated windows on south-facing walls • Install a new energy-efficient furnace and locating thermal mass, such as a to save money over the long term. concrete slab floor or a heat-absorbing Look for the ENERGY STAR and wall, close to the windows. In many EnergyGuide labels. cases, your heating costs could be more than 50% lower than the cost of heating 13
  16. 16. Hot Winter Tip Using a programmable thermostat, you can automatically turn down your heat at night or when you are not at home. Cool Summer Tip In the summer, you can save money by automatically turning your air-conditioning up at night or when you are at work. Programmable Thermostats conditioner that’s too big for the area You can save as much as 10% a year it is supposed to cool will perform less on your heating and cooling bills by efficiently and less effectively than a simply turning your thermostat back smaller, properly sized unit. 10% to 15% for 8 hours. You can do Sizing is equally important for central this automatically by installing an air-conditioning systems, which need to automatic setback or programmable be sized by professionals. If you have thermostat. a central air system in your home, set Using a programmable thermostat, you the fan to shut off at the same time as can adjust the times you turn on the the cooling unit (compressor). In other heating or air-conditioning according words, don’t use the system’s central fan to a preset schedule. As a result, the to provide circulation, but instead use equipment doesn’t operate as much circulating fans in individual rooms. when you are asleep or when the Cooling Tips house, or a part of it, is not occupied. • Whole-house fans help cool your home Programmable thermostats can store by pulling cool air through the house and repeat multiple daily settings and exhausting warm air through the (six or more temperature settings a attic. day) that you can manually override • Set your thermostat as high as without affecting the rest of the daily comfortably possible in the summer. or weekly program. When shopping for The smaller the difference between the a programmable thermostat, be sure to indoor and outdoor temperatures, the Heating and Cooling look for the ENERGY STAR label. lower your overall cooling bill will be. • Avoid setting your thermostat at a Air Conditioners colder setting than normal when you Buying a bigger room air-conditioning turn on your air conditioner. It will unit won’t necessarily make you feel not cool your home any faster and more comfortable during the hot could result in excessive cooling and, summer months. In fact, a room air therefore, unnecessary expense. 14
  17. 17. Buildings and Trees—Natural Partners Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will help keep your house cool in the summer and 02477415m allow sun to shine in the windows in the winter. • Consider using an interior fan in of this booklet will help you find the conjunction with your window air right size unit for your needs. conditioner to spread the cooled air • Consider installing a whole- more effectively through your home house fan or evaporative cooler if without greatly increasing your power appropriate for your climate. Check use. out for more • Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near information on efficient cooling. your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from Landscaping these appliances, which can cause Landscaping is a natural and beautiful the air conditioner to run longer than way to keep your home cool in necessary. summer and reduce your energy bills. A well-placed tree, shrub, or vine • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but not to block the can deliver effective shade, act as a airflow. Place your room air conditioner windbreak, and reduce your energy on the north side of the house. A unit bills. Carefully positioned trees can operating in the shade uses as much as save up to 25% of the energy a typical 10% less electricity than the same one household uses for energy. Research operating in the sun. shows that summer daytime air temperatures can be 3° to 6° cooler Heating and Cooling $ Long-Term Savings Tips in tree-shaded neighborhoods than in • If your air conditioner is old, consider treeless areas. purchasing a new, energy-efficient A lattice or trellis with climbing model. You could save up to 50% on vines, or a planter box with trailing your utility bill for cooling. Look for vines, shades the home’s perimeter the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide while admitting cooling breezes to the labels. The shopping guide in the back shaded area. 15
  18. 18. Water Heating W ater heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 13%–17% of your utility bill. There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater, or buy a new, more efficient model. Water Heating Tips • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads. • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time. • Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses. • Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. • Insulate your natural gas or oil hot-water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the water Keep Your Energy Bills Out of Hot Water Insulate your water heater to save energy and money. heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help. • Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent • Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and heat loss. Some new water heaters cold water pipes connected to the have built-in heat traps. water heater. • Drain a quart of water from your • If you are in the market for a new water tank every 3 months to remove dishwasher or clothes washer, sediment that impedes heat transfer Water Heating consider buying an efficient, and lowers the efficiency of your water-saving ENERGY STAR heater. The type of water tank you model to reduce hot water use. See have determines the steps to take, so Appliances on page 22 for more follow the manufacturer’s advice. information. 16
  19. 19. Average Hot Water Use • Although most water heaters last Activity Gallons per Use 10–15 years, it’s best to start shopping now for a new one if yours is more Clothes washing 32 than 7 years old. Doing some research Showering 20 before your heater fails will enable Bathing 20 you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs. Automatic 12 dishwashing $ Long-Term Savings Tips Preparing food 5 • Buy a new energy-efficient water Hand dishwashing 4 heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the Source: ACEEE energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide More than 1.5 million homes and labels. businesses in the United States • Look for the ENERGY STAR label on have invested in solar water heating efficient water heaters in the following systems, and surveys indicate that categories: high efficiency gas non- more than 94% of these customers condensing, gas condensing, electric consider the systems a good heat pump, gas tankless, and solar. investment. Solar water heating systems are also good for the • Consider installing a drain water waste environment. Solar water heaters heat recovery system. A recent DOE avoid the greenhouse gas emissions study showed energy savings of 25% associated with electricity production. to about 30% for water heating using During a 20-year period, one solar such a system. water heater can avoid more than 50 • Consider natural gas on-demand or tons of carbon dioxide emissions. tankless water heaters. Researchers When shopping for a solar water have found savings can be up to 30% heater, look for the ENERGY STAR compared with a standard natural gas label and for systems certified by storage tank water heater. the Solar Rating and Certification • Heat pump water heaters can be very Corporation or the Florida Solar cost-effective in some areas. Energy Center. $ Long-Term Savings Tip Solar Water Heaters • Visit the Database of State Incentives If you heat water with electricity, for Renewables & Efficiency Web have high electric rates, and have an site ( to see if unshaded, south-facing location (such you might qualify for tax credits as a roof) on your property, consider or rebates for buying a solar water installing an ENERGY STAR qualified heater. solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and can now be Water Heating installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house. 17
  20. 20. Windows W indows can be one of your home’s most attractive features. Windows provide views, daylighting, ventilation, and solar heating in the winter. Unfortunately, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill. During the summer, your air conditioner must work harder to cool hot air from sunny windows. Install ENERGY STAR windows and use curtains and shade to give your air conditioner and energy bill a break. If you live in the Cold-Climate Windows Keep Heat In 02477413m Sun Belt, look into low-e Double-pane windows with low-e coating on the glass reflect windows, which can cut the heat back into the room during the winter months. cooling load by 10% to 15%. If your home has single- Cold-Climate Window Tips pane windows, as many U.S. homes • You can use a heavy-duty, clear plastic do, consider replacing them with sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic new double-pane windows with film to the inside of your window high-performance glass (e.g., low-e frames during the cold winter months. or spectrally selective). In colder Remember, the plastic must be sealed climates, select windows that are gas tightly to the frame to help reduce filled with low emissivity infiltration. (low-e) coatings on the glass to reduce • Install tight-fitting, insulating window heat loss. In warmer climates, select shades on windows that feel drafty windows with spectrally selective after weatherizing. coatings to reduce heat gain. If you are • Close your curtains and shades at building a new home, you can offset night; open them during the day. some of the cost of installing more • Keep windows on the south side of your efficient windows because they house clean to let in the winter sun. allow you to buy smaller, less expensive heating and cooling • Install exterior or interior storm equipment. windows; storm windows can reduce heat loss through the windows by 25% If you decide not to replace your to 50%. Storm windows should have windows, the simpler, less costly weatherstripping at all movable joints; measures listed here can improve their be made of strong, durable materials; Windows performance. and have interlocking or overlapping joints. Low-e storm windows save even more energy. 18
  21. 21. Efficient windows may have two or more panes of glass, warm- edge spacers between the window panes, improved framing materials, and low-e coating(s), which are microscopically thin coatings that help keep heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. Shopping Tips for Windows • Look for the ENERGY STAR label. • Check with local utilities to see what rebates or other financial Warm-Climate Windows Keep Heat Out incentives are available for window In the summertime, the sun shining through your replacement. windows heats up the room. Windows with low-e • High-performance windows have coatings on the glass reflect some of the sunlight, at least two panes of glass and a keeping your rooms cooler. low-e (low emissivity) coating. • Remember, the lower the U-factor, • Repair and weatherize your current the better the insulation. In colder storm windows, if necessary. climates, focus on finding a low U-factor. Warm-Climate Window Tips • Low solar heat gain coefficients • Install white window shades, drapes, (SHGCs) reduce heat gain. In or blinds to reflect heat away from warm climates, look for a low the house. SHGC. • Close curtains on south- and west- facing windows during the day. • In temperate climates with both • Install awnings on south- and west- heating and cooling seasons, select facing windows. windows with both low U-factors • Apply sun-control or other reflective and low SHGCs to maximize films on south-facing windows to energy savings. reduce solar gain. • Look for whole-unit U-factors and SHGCs, rather than center- $ Long-Term Savings Tip of-glass, or COG, U-factors and • Installing, high-performance windows SHGCs. Whole-unit numbers will improve your home’s energy more accurately reflect the energy performance. While it may take many performance of the entire product. years for new windows to pay off in • Have your windows installed energy savings, the benefits of added by trained professionals. Be comfort and improved aesthetics and sure they’re installed according functionality may make the investment to manufacturer’s instructions; Windows worth it to you. Many window otherwise, your warranty may be technologies are available that are void. worth considering. 19
  22. 22. Lighting than incandescent bulbs initially, over their lifetime they are cheaper because M of how little electricity they use. CFL aking improvements to your lighting fixtures are now available lighting is one of the fastest that are compatible with dimmers and ways to cut your energy bills. An operate like incandescent fixtures. average household dedicates 10% of its energy budget to lighting. Using Indoor Lighting Tips new lighting technologies can reduce • Be sure to buy ENERGY STAR lighting energy use in your home by qualified CFLs. 50% to 75%. Advances in lighting - They will save you about $30 or more controls offer further energy savings in electricity costs over each bulb’s by reducing the amount of time lights lifetime. are on but not being used. - Producing about 75% less heat, they are safer to operate and can cut home cooling costs. - Visit to find the right light bulbs for your fixtures. They are available in sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture. - They provide the greatest savings in fixtures that are on for a long time each day. The best fixtures to use qualified CFLs in are usually found in your family and living rooms, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and outdoors. • Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR Compact Fluorescent Bulbs— qualified fixtures. They are available in A Bright Idea! many styles including table, desk and floor lamps — and hard-wired options ENERGY STAR qualified lighting provides bright, for front porches, dining rooms, warm light and uses about 75% less energy bathroom vanity fixtures, and more. than standard lighting, produces 75% less heat, and lasts up to 10 times longer. Indoor Lighting Use linear fluorescent tubes and energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in fixtures throughout your home to provide high-quality and high-efficiency lighting. Fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent (standard) bulbs and last about 6 to 12 times longer. Today’s CFLs offer brightness and color rendition that is comparable to CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed Lighting incandescent bulbs. Although linear within the glass tubing. Many retailers are offering fluorescent and CFLs cost a bit more free recycling services for consumers at their stores. 20
  23. 23. Outdoor Lighting Many homeowners use outdoor lighting for decoration and security. When shopping for outdoor lights, you will find a variety of products, from low-voltage pathway lighting to motion-detector floodlights. Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, thrive in outdoor environments because of their durability and performance in cold weather. Look for ENERGY STAR LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use. Outdoor Lighting Tips ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are available in • Because outdoor lights are usually sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture. left on a long time, using CFLs in these fixtures will save a lot of • ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures energy. Most bare spiral CFLs can be distribute light more efficiently and used in enclosed fixtures that protect evenly than standard fixtures and they them from the weather. deliver convenient features such as • CFLs are also available as flood dimming on some indoor models. lights. These models have been tested • Controls such as timers and photo to withstand the rain and snow so cells save electricity by turning lights they can be used in exposed fixtures. off when not in use. Dimmers save Most though, cannot be used with electricity when used to lower light motion detectors. levels. Be sure to select products that • Look for ENERGY STAR qualified are compatible with CFL bulbs; not all fixtures that are designed for outdoor products work with CFLs. use and come with features like • When remodeling, look for recessed automatic daylight shut-off and downlights, or “cans”, that are rated for motion sensors. contact with insulation (IC rated). • Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains LED—A New Kind of Light on your windows to allow daylight to Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, offer penetrate the room while preserving better light quality than incandescent privacy. Also, decorate with lighter bulbs, last 25 times as long, and use colors that reflect daylight. even less energy than CFLs. Look for • If you have torchiere fixtures with ENERGY STAR qualified LED products at halogen lamps, consider replacing them home improvement centers and lighting with compact fluorescent torchieres. showrooms. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy and do not get as hot as halogen torchieres. Lighting 21
  24. 24. Appliances and 28 lists some of the major appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR label and A provides helpful information on what to ppliances account for about look for when shopping for an appliance. 17% of your household’s energy consumption, with refrigerators, To help you figure out whether an clothes washers, and clothes dryers at appliance is energy efficient, the federal the top of the consumption list. government requires most appliances to display the bright yellow and black When you’re shopping for appliances, EnergyGuide label. Although these think of two price tags. The first one labels will not tell you which appliance covers the purchase price—think of is the most efficient, they will tell you it as a down payment. The second the annual energy consumption and price tag is the cost of operating the operating cost for each appliance so appliance during its lifetime. You’ll be you can compare them yourself. The paying on that second price tag every American Council for an Energy- month with your utility bill for the Efficient Economy lists the energy next 10 to 20 years, depending on the performance of top-rated energy- appliance. Refrigerators last an average saving appliances on its web site: of 14 years; clothes washers about 11 years; dishwashers about 10 years; and room air conditioners last 9 years. Dishwashers Most of the energy used by a dishwasher When you do shop for a new is for water heating. The EnergyGuide appliance, look for the ENERGY label estimates how much power is STAR label. ENERGY STAR products needed per year to run the appliance and usually exceed minimum federal to heat the water based on the yearly cost standards by a substantial amount. The of natural gas and electric water heating. appliance shopping guide on pages 27 Appliances What’s the Real Cost? Every appliance has two price tags—the purchase price and the operating cost. Consider both when buying a new appliance. 22
  25. 25. • Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t What’s a kilowatt? have an automatic air-dry switch, When you use electricity to cook a pot of turn off the control knob after the rice for 1 hour, you use 1000 watt-hours of final rinse and prop the door open electricity! One thousand watt-hours equals slightly so the dishes will dry faster. 1 kilowatt-hour, or 1 kWh. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. The average residential $ Long-Term Savings Tip rate is 9.4 cents per kWh. A typical U.S. • When shopping for a new household consumes about 11,000 kWh per dishwasher, look for the ENERGY year, costing an average of $1,034 annually. STAR label to find a dishwasher that uses less water and 41% less energy than required by federal standards. Dishwasher Tips • Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s Refrigerators recommendations on water The EnergyGuide label on new temperature; many have internal refrigerators tells you how much heating elements that allow you to electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh) a set the water heater in your home particular model uses in one year. The to a lower temperature (120°F). smaller the number, the less energy • Scrape, don’t rinse, off large the refrigerator uses and the less it food pieces and bones. Soaking will cost you to operate. In addition or prewashing is generally only to the EnergyGuide label, don’t forget recommended in cases of burned-on to look for the ENERGY STAR label. or dried-on food. A new refrigerator with an ENERGY • Be sure your dishwasher is full, but STAR label uses at least 20% less not overloaded, when you run it. energy than required by current • Avoid using the “rinse hold” on your federal standards and 40% less energy machine for just a few soiled dishes. than the conventional models sold in It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each 2001. time you use it. How to Read the EnergyGuide Label The EnergyGuide label gives you two important pieces of information you can use to compare different brands and models when shopping for a new refrigerator: • Estimated yearly operating cost based on the national average cost of electricity. • Estimated energy consumption on a scale showing a range for similar models Appliances 23
  26. 26. Refrigerator/Freezer Energy Tips • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored • Look for a refrigerator with in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods automatic moisture control. release moisture and make the Models with this feature have been compressor work harder. engineered to prevent moisture accumulation on the cabinet exterior $ Long-Term Savings Tip • Look for the ENERGY STAR label without the addition of a heater. when buying a new refrigerator. Select This is not the same thing as an a new refrigerator that is the right “anti-sweat” heater. Models with an size for your household. Top freezer anti-sweat heater will consume 5% models are more energy efficient than to 10% more energy than models side-by-side models. Features like without this feature. icemakers and water dispensers, while • Don’t keep your refrigerator or convenient, will increase energy use. freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F. • To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours. • Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one- quarter of an inch. • Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit. ENERGY STAR Refrigerators Are Cool! Appliances Refrigerators with the freezer on the top are more efficient than those with freezers on the side. 24
  27. 27. Other Energy-Saving Kitchen Tips or cold water setting on your machine • Be sure to place the faucet lever on the will generally do a good job of kitchen sink in the cold position when cleaning your clothes. Switching your using small amounts of water; placing temperature setting from hot to warm the lever in the hot position uses can cut a load’s energy use in half. energy to heat the water even though it may never reach the faucet. Laundry Tips • Wash your clothes in cold water • If you need to purchase a natural gas using cold-water detergents oven or range, look for one with an whenever possible. automatic, electric ignition system. An electric ignition saves natural gas • Wash and dry full loads. If you because a pilot light is not burning are washing a small load, use the continuously. appropriate water-level setting. • In natural gas appliances, look for • Dry towels and heavier cottons in blue flames; yellow flames indicate a separate load from lighter-weight the gas is burning inefficiently and an clothes. adjustment may be needed. Consult the • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your manufacturer or your local utility. machine has a moisture sensor, use it. • Keep range-top burners and reflectors • Clean the lint filter in the dryer clean; they will reflect the heat better, after every load to improve air and you will save energy. circulation. • Use a covered kettle or pan to boil • Use the cool-down cycle to allow water; it’s faster and it uses less energy. the clothes to finish drying with the • Match the size of the pan to the heating residual heat in the dryer. element. • Periodically inspect your dryer vent • Use small electric pans or toaster ovens to ensure it is not blocked. This will for small meals rather than your large save energy and may prevent a fire. stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a Manufacturers recommend using third to half as much energy as a full- rigid venting material, not plastic sized oven. vents that may collapse and cause blockages. • Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient • Consider air-drying clothes on to do so. They will save energy by clothes lines or drying racks. Air- significantly reducing cooking time. drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics. Laundry About 90% of the energy used for $ Long-Term Savings Tips washing clothes in a conventional • Look for the ENERGY STAR and top-load washer is for heating the water. EnergyGuide labels. ENERGY There are two ways to reduce the amount STAR clothes washers clean clothes of energy used for washing clothes—use using 50% less energy than standard less water and use cooler water. Unless Appliances washers. Most full-sized ENERGY you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm 25
  28. 28. How Much Electricity Do Appliances Use? This chart shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding cost based on national averages. For example, a refrigerator uses almost five times the electricity the average television uses. Visit for instructions on calculating the electrical use of your appliances. STAR washers use 15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 32.5 gallons used by a new standard machine. ENERGY STAR models also spin the clothes better, resulting in less drying time. • When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, it will save the wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying. Save Energy and More with ENERGY STAR ENERGY STAR clothes washers use 50% less • ENERGY STAR does not label energy to wash clothes than standard washing clothes dryers because most of machines. them use similar amounts of energy, which means there is little difference Appliances in energy use between models. 26